Democrats Brace for U.S. Midterm Election Losses
Democrats are bracing for significant losses (WashPost) in today's congressional midterm elections that could present a serious setback for President Barack Obama's domestic and foreign policy agendas. Republican lawmakers are confident they will take control of the House of Representatives, while Democrats are preparing for a smaller majority in the Senate. The expected shift reflects the extent of voter anger about the weak U.S. economic recovery. Several polls released on the eve of the elections indicate Republicans could take more than fifty seats (FT) in the House, far more than the thirty-nine net gain they need for a majority. They are also projected to win as many as eight Senate seats, which would hamper Democrats' ability to pass legislation. Republican control of even one chamber of Congress would weaken Obama's hand in fights over extending the Bush-era tax cuts and passing comprehensive climate change or immigration bills, but Obama would still wield veto power (Reuters) over any Republican initiatives. Some Democratic strategists want Obama to recast his inner circle or fire top advisers (WSJ) in response to the potential midterm electoral defeat.
On ForeignPolicy.com, Aaron David Miller says Obama should resist the common temptation to become a foreign policy-focused president post-midterms, since he lacks "ready-made or even easily manufactured opportunities abroad."
In the Financial Times, Gideon Rachman says if Obama loses power to a Republican in 2012, the country will not be "well adapted to cope with the inexorable rise of new centers of power around the world," because the Tea Party refuses to interpret setbacks and frustrations as a consequence of inevitable constraints on American power.
Read CFR's issue guide on the 2010 midterm elections.